Interview to Imad Elzein, translator in the Sudanese Embassy of Spain

Juan Manuel Pérez Martínez – 17-5-2012

The Sudanese Imad Elzain has a degree in Political Science and Sociology by the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, works as a translator in the Embassy of Sudan in Spain and knows perfectly the political situation of his country. With him I have tried topics as interesting as the bloody conflict in Darfur or the recent Division of this African country.

Good evening. First of all I would like thank you your time. My name is Juan Manuel Pérez and I am student of International Relations and Translation in Universidad Europea de Madrid.

I would like to structure of this interview following the chronological order of the several political questions. If you want… let´s start!


What does it mean for you the word “independence”? What did it mean for you the independence of Sudan in the mid- twentieth century?

Nowadays the independence word is a word without sense; the end of the colonial era in the 1960s, the continuous change in the international relations until came the actual organization, these facts assumed the creation of stronger and crueler dependences than the previous. Currently no country is independent and has the possibility of being.

I was born in the night before the proclamation of the independence of Sudan on January 1, 1956, during many years had as Sudanese thrilled to be able to build our country. Before the mass of frustration, today many people wondered what served the struggle for independence.

Ethnic or religious conflicts sometimes have fatal results. As I have understood the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983 – 2005) had this root; conflicts between the Arab- Muslim populations of the north against Black-Christian populations of the south. How did this war, and most importantly how you felt to learn that your country, which had just left a bitter war that lasted for seventeen years (1955-1972) became immersed in a new war?

Throughout the war gets only pain, destruction and the delay of any country or society. The failure of national politicians to achieve a common project for ethnic, cultural and religious diversity of the country together with the foreigners’ geopolitical, religious and economic interests . All this facts avoided the solution of the conflict.

In February of 2003, took place the heinous Darfur conflict. According to ONU informs, in this conflict died 400.000 people (majority black people). This conflict brought out several conflicts of the past. Do you think that the Referendum on the Independence of South Sudan, 2011, will be useful to stop the ethnic and territorial problems?

In Sudan the majority population is black both in the South, North or East (Darfur). Arab culture and Islamic religion are dominant in all regions of the country, less in the South where Christianity is dominant among the sectors which have had access to education (30%), the rest of the population are animist or other belief. The conflict in Darfur is not racial or religious but is part of the struggle against the current Government and the fair distribution of wealth and power between the different regions of the country.

Related with the previous question what do you think about the Sudan division in two independent states?

The Division of the country is not the solution; in fact the conflict persists with the gravity that is now a conflict between two States.

Although Sudan is a presidential representative, democratic Federal Republic, many internationalists consider the Sudanese politics as an authoritarian system because the National Congress Party has control on executive, legislative and judicial powers. What do you think about this?

The current regime came to power in 1989 by a military coup, overthrowing a democratically elected Government. The coup was the work of the political groups who believe in the Islamist confessional State, I believe that the main cause of all conflicts and problems faced by the country, including the separation of the South, is the way of clinging to the power of the regime.

What do you say in view of the following news published in 2007 ” Sudanese President pardons to British teacher who called Mahoma to a teddy” (

I know this case directly, unfortunately policy is used lies and deception in a systematic manner to achieve an anyway…, the regime is usually often used religious feelings.

Do you think that the Arab spring had repercussions in your country?

In Sudan there is the experience of popular overthrow authoritarian regimes, there are formations political, Trade Union and civil society organizations, also there were short periods of parliamentary democracy. The political opposition prefers to force the regime to accept a democratic and pacific transition to avoid an armed resistance of the regime against the population as happened in Libya or as it is happening in Syria.

Returning to the Darfur conflict, which was your reaction when knew the Sudanese President, Omar Hason Ahmad al-Bashit, was blamed by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide? How can this man continue exercising the control of the country?

Sometimes these types of sentences of the international community have a reverse effect in the interior of the country. Authoritarian regimes use it to increase their popularity and justify their permanence in power: the international community uses double standards or has different bars of measure; it is the type of message that is used and always succeeds; something will be.

As you know the polemical documental Kony 2012, has been seen in the entire world highlighting the trafficking of children as soldiers and sexual slaves in Uganda by the criminal Joseph Kony. When compared this case with the Thomas Lubanga´s case another “Lord of war” Congolese accused by the International Criminal Court for the conscription and enlistment of children under 15 years old in Itury, Congo… what do think about that identical cases been judged of the different way? Do you think that the documental Kony 2012 have ridiculed the difficult situation lived by the soldiers children? Do you think is better the privacy of Thomas Lubanga´s case or in contrast you consider better the action of mass media?

There is a fight for a better world, give opportunities and help the underdeveloped countries out of poverty. Without the definitive solution of the problem of poverty in the world won’t serve attempts to isolate denounce many injustices, such as child soldiers.

Thank you so much for all.

Good luck!


I would like to thank to my friend Olga Conde for help me with this interview.


Acerca de subsaharanafricam11
Students of Foreign Affairs doing a project on Africa's current news.

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